As BMW readies a new 5 GT for 2017, we pay tribute to their 2009 niche bender.
Back in 2009, BMW introduced the 5-Series GT – a car few have felt much affection for, the poor thing. It’s unclear why BMW felt they needed it. When it first appeared as the Progressive Activity Sedan concept in 2007, it seemed BMW were just toying with niches in a similar manner to their Swabian rivals in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim.
But PAS was no R-Class, being far more saloon-like in concept and appearance, even if the desirability of a 5-door BMW hatchback as large as a 7-Series seemed questionable even in those innocent pre-crash days.
Sitting on the F07 floorpan, the 5-GT was nominally aimed at the US market, where estates had fallen dramatically out of favour. Packaged to maximise passenger space, it featured a interior described by Autocar as ‘very special’. However, the car’s steeply sloping tail not only compromised luggage space – (440l or 1700l with the seats folded) – and some way short of its 5-Series Touring sibling, it also robbed rear seat headroom.
Furthermore, the provision of just two rear seats made it less of a family load-hauler and more of a high class minicab – perhaps the car’s true spiritual calling. Autocar found more to be ambivalent about in the chassis dynamics, decrying the ride by observing; “every now and then the rear suspension seemingly gives up, sending a shock crashing through the cabin.” They summed up by damning it in the following terms; “It is trying to be too many things for too many people, and as a result it satisfies none.”
So a bit of an orphan, the 5-Series GT and that’s before we even touch on the troubled subject of the car’s styling, a subject around which there is almost universal accord. In fact, taking their cue from Porsche, a BMW insider recently sealed the coffin lid on the current car’s style, suggesting the forthcoming G32 version – now in the late stages of proving will present a ‘much more elegant form.’
Okay, it’s no beauty, but perhaps the GT’s stylistic deficiencies have been overplayed.